Email marketing… You remember that, right? Before the days of sophisticated spam filters, each morning we would all log on to find 15 email pitches for everything ranging from credit repair to Viagra. In the last nine hours alone, this writer’s filter has intercepted 29 of them. I love my spam filter!
So, why would any company use any portion of their marketing budget for email marketing? Because it still works well and is a cost effective tool when implemented correctly. That involves the proper cultivation of one of your most valuable resources – your email list.
The goal with email marketing is the same as with any other type. You want to offer quality content that is interesting and useful. Here are some suggestions as to how you can markedly improve your open rates and responses:
- Get permission from your potential subscriber. Always. Otherwise, you are doomed to end up in the spam filter and risk getting kicked off your email service for policy violation, since nearly all of them now require this feature.
- Make sure the email is optimized for mobile devices. Keep in mind that an iPhone allows 320 pixels in width. Make it easy for people to read the message without having to resize.
- Choose a font that all recipients have, not one that looks different. Common is best. This is not the place to become creative.
- Keep it short. A good rule of thumb is to write everything you want to include and then reduce the length by half. The other half of that equation is frequency. Even once a week is probably too much, unless your subscribers have requested it. Two messages per month will keep your brand awareness up without risking losing people to tedium.
- Keep in mind that any successful effort cannot rely upon guesswork. A great way to test your email marketing is to download Mozilla Thunderbird, a free email and news client. Send out some example emails to friends and associates, requesting honest feedback.
- Make sure your logo is prominent and your content is clear, readable and uses proper grammar, spelling and punctuation. If those are not your strong points, hire a freelance writer to ensure professionalism. Poorly written copy is an excellent way to become unsubscribed instantly.
- Speaking of which, make the unsubscribe link easy to find and use. You are far better off getting unsubscribed than to receive a spam complaint.
- Ask questions and solicit Facebook or Twitter replies. If the topic is interesting to them they will not only read and pass along the information, but you will find out what your customers think about your email subject.
- Let your existing clients and customers help you. For example, you might send a Valentine’s Day card to everyone on you email list and suggest they pass along their own personalized version to their friends and business associates. Of course, include a link back to your company’s website.
After you have honed your email message to the point where you feel you have an attractive, interesting and useful message, send them out. Monitor and track your open rates and rates of unsubscribe usage and make adjustments. More and more, your writing will pass spam filter muster if you simply write to human readers and not try to game the system. The words “free” and “sex” are sure roads to the trash folder.